Most of us had more than a little help getting through the bleakest parts of the COVID-19 pandemic and for many that help came in the form of our canine friends. They’re not called man’s best friend for nothing.
But what do dogs really think of us? And how do they help us so much?
These are just a couple of questions that are investigated in A.R. Gurney’s delightful play “Sylvia,” which is part of the Arvada Center’s return to live theater and of the first production in the 2021-2022 Black Box Theatre schedule.
“It feels really good to be there, to gather with people again. It’s a special thing to gather with strangers and find a way to laugh together,” said Jessica Robblee, who plays the titular labradoodle. “We desperately need an audience for a play like this to come alive. The audience is the water a comedy plant needs to grow.”
“Sylvia” runs at the center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. in Arvada, through Sunday, Nov. 7. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, 1 p.m. on Wednesday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Directed by Lynne Collins, the show follows New York married couple Kate and Greg (Kate Gleason and Gareth Saxe) as their relationship and lives get thrown for a loop when Greg finds Sylvia in Central Park. What ensues is kind of comedic triangle of warring needs and wants between the two people and their dog.
“All the quirks that you notice in your dog we take time to celebrate. In the rehearsal room, everyone was always talking about what their dogs do,” Robblee said. “One of the delights of the play is the audience learning how the communication between the characters works.”
The show is as much a tribute to the importance of connection as it is to the human-dog relationship. That’s something that gets emphasized every time audiences are able to be back together watching actors perform. The Arvada Center is working to ensure that keeps safely happening by requiring all patrons age 12 and older to be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination before attending. If you are unable to be vaccinated, you must provide a negative COVID-19 test to attend. And all visitors must wear a mask while at the center. That way we can all keep connecting together.
“The show is a beautiful ode to dogs and admitting that it’s not always easy. Like any relationship it comes with both complexity and comedy,” Robblee said. “It’s such a human play, such a soulful play.”
For information and tickets, visit arvadacenter.org/events/sylvia.
Benchmark Theatre acknowledges the ‘Elephant’ in the room
Local creatives Abner Genece, Candace Joice and Neil Truglio worked together to create the show “Elephant,” which considers the themes raised by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The show is making its world premiere as part of the Benchmark Theatre’s return to live programming. The show runs at The Bench at 40West, 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood, through Saturday, Oct. 30. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Directed by Neil Truglio, the show is inspired by the original “The Elephant Man,” writings from Frederick Treves. An exploration of the country’s racial divides and their effects on our society, this is immediate and vital theater. Tickets and information can be found at benchmarktheatre.com.
‘The Crucible’ conjures the witches among us
Witches are one of the most recognizable archetypes that you see around Halloween every year, but the witches featured in Arthur Miller’s immortal play, “The Crucible,” are of the much more terrifying kind — allegorical. And what they represent is something we should all fear.
Just in time for the spooky season Miners Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Ave. in Golden, is staging the show with all its scorching damnation of willful ignorance, intolerance and hypocrisy, through Sunday, Nov. 7. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. All patrons are required to wear masks and show proof of vaccination.
For information and tickets, call 303-935-3044 or visit minersalley.com/shows/crucible.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Midlands at Red Rocks
**Editor's note: the concert has been pushed to 2022**
Autumn is the perfect time for some bittersweet country rock and you’d be hard-pressed to find better purveyors of that right now than Midland. The Texas-based band has released just two studio albums as well as other miscellany, but they’ve already built up a strong reputation as some of the best in the genre.
They’ll be taking the stage at Red Rocks Amphitheater, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. They’ll be joined by Iowan Hailey Whitters, who released one of the best country records of the year in 2020.
Get tickets at redrocksonline.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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